This article was written by Stephanie Moore MS, RD/LD
We have ALL been there. The scale is creeping, creeping, creeeeeping in the wrong direction. What’s to blame?? Here are 9 reasons your scale might be going the wrong way- in no particular order.
1. Mindless Picking. We hear it all the time, “I didn’t even notice how much I was eating until I paid attention.” It’s hard to know everything we take a bite, lick or taste of. Movies are infamous for this. Looking at the screen and snacking mindlessly. Walking through the kitchen and grabbing something out of the bowl. Having a bite of a friend or spouses snack. It all adds up, and we don’t even know it! My biggest recommendation- food journal. All 3 dietitians here at WeightWise journal our food intake in MyFitnessPal. Easy to use and keeps us mindful.
2. Oil Overkill. Fat is very, very sneaky. High fat cheese. High fat meat. And one of the biggest offenders: nuts. Packed with oil = oil overkill. Be sure to utilize 2% cheeses. Lean cuts of meat. Avoid nuts. Choose cooking spray over oils. Yes, even olive oil.
3. Not Enough Zzzz’s. Surpising isn’t it? A lack of sleep can slow your weight-loss progress. Your body becomes more stressed which can affect metabolism. Not to mention…tired eating is hard to fight.
4. Too much caffeine- too little water. Water is the cheapest appetite suppressant out there. When the coffee overtakes the water intake, our brains get confused and send us hunger signals when thirst is truly to blame. Even a light dehydration can make you huuuuungry.
5. Working out too hard. Yep. Working out at a higher heart rate increases your hunger level. It also takes your body out of fat-burning and into carbohydrate burning. This means more hunger, more food intake, and less fat- burning in your workout. Take it slow and call your exercise physiologist to see about testing out your best heart rate for burning fat.
6. Missing meals. For some people, hunger doesn’t come consistently. “It’s lunch time, but I don’t feel like eating yet.” This creates more hunger later in the day which leads to poor hunger control. Missing meals also slows metabolism and people who under-eat tend to lose slower than those who eat a regular meal pattern.
7. Sneaky starches. Almost as sneaky as oils, carbohydates can be big culprits. Too much coffee creamer. High carbohydrates protein bars or shakes. Higher sugar condiments. Too much fruit. It doesn’t always come in a clear “bread/pasta/rice” category, but it can add up. Using the MyFitnessPal calculates your intake into a pie chart of fats vs carbs vs protein. Ideal pie chart? At least 50% protein and less than 20% carbs. If it’s out of whack, you’re more able to find the sneaky starches.
8. Protein bar overload. Protein bars are good though, right?? There are still carbohydrates and fat in protein bars. We recommend post-op patients to limit to one protein bar per day as a meal replacement. If you have a bar for breakfast and another bar in the afternoon, the “bar overload” can put the breaks on your progress.
9. Slider Food Slip Ups. Slider foods: softer texted foods that slide out the post-op pouch faster. We use the “funnel factor” as a visual for this process. Eating cottage cheese or tuna salad, for example, allows you to eat larger portions and creates hunger faster. Chose more lean, solid proteins like poultry, beef and pork for prolonged fullness and smaller portion sizes.
Plateaus are normal and we recommend weighing just once weekly. As always, consult your dietitian to help you determine what could be causing your weight-loss to slow. Call myself, Chris or Allison for a more personalized look into your diet.